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How to Find Sex Online (Without Being Slimy)

5 October 2009 11 Comments by Meghan Beresford

sex-spelled-in-keys-on-laptopSome people use the internet to find information, connect with loved ones, and increase productivity. The rest of us use it to find sex. Don’t blush — it’s one of the most basic human drives, and we’re wired (no pun) to seek it. If the web makes snagging a snog easier, it’s only natural that people are going to go there. Here’s some advice on how to approach your prospects for no-strings nookie without seeming (or feeling) like an absolute dirtbag.

Look in the Right Places

If you want internet action, you need to go where there’s action happening. If you’re looking for a no-strings-attached (NSA) experience, Craigslist is worth checking out, but it can be labor-intensive to find a good fit. The listings aren’t very search-friendly, and the Casual Encounters section is notorious for attracting crazies and flakes. Thanks to the recent shutdown of the Erotic Services section, there’s also a heavy “professional” contingent spread out across the Craigslist Personals, so make sure you know what you’re getting into when you agree to meet. You can also check out one of the many “Adult Personals” sites that cut straight to the chase. (Google that phrase. You’ll find them.) You’ll encounter tons of frank, sexually explicit content here, which will probably be both handy (“Yay! I already know they’re drug and disease free”) and alarmingly eye-opening (“I didn’t even know erotic falconry existed.”)

If you feel skeevy about going straight to a hookup site, you can check out social networking and online dating sites, but you must remember that, as a straight-up sex-seeker, you are in the minority. Don’t waste your time with online dating sites that charge membership fees — the people there are paying customers who are mostly looking for love, not sex. This makes them less likely to hook up with you, and more likely to complain (and when you’re deleted for trolling, the site isn’t going to refund your membership fees.)  

Be prepared to spend some time separating the wheat from the chaff (and the camgirls from the real girls), but know that directing your efforts to places where sex-seekers congregate is much more likely to pay off than casting about blindly in the hopes that someone will take pity on your poor, undersexed soul.

Approach the Right People

Even if you’re not picky, when it comes right down to it, you probably don’t want “just any” sex. You’re looking for someone you’re at least sort-of attracted to, and (probably) someone with whom you’ll be able to have a civilized post-coital conversation. To that end, scan the profiles of people whose photos interest you and make sure they’re not prudish, taken, or otherwise incompatible with you. This may seem tedious, but focusing your efforts will save you tons of time and increase your odds of success.

Keep an eye peeled for people who have a healthy, unabashed enthusiasm for sex, but who are not consumed or obsessed by it. It may seem counterintuitive to pass up a total nympho, but people who are drawn to sexual extremes are often drawn to other extremes as well, and having a partner who is stable, rational and able to understand boundaries is key for successful NSA encounters. Sex-seeking communities tend to have an unusually large hot-but-crazy contingent, and that’s because sex is very easy to use for validation, distraction, and drama-creation.  Be on the lookout for this when you’re assessing a partner’s potential. A sense of humor, a sense of adventure, and a playful personality are all great attributes for NSA partners, but nothing is more important than “unlikely to set my hair on fire.”

Be Respectful

If you go the social networking/online dating route, make sure you’re seeking only people who are looking for “casual encounters” or “short term relationships.” On these sites, even if people have indicated openness to casual affairs, it’s considered extremely poor form to send sexual propositions in a first e-mail. Don’t do it. Heed this advice especially if you’re wildly horny, since nothing makes people want to sleep with you less than desperation. Introduce yourself to people on these dating/networking sites as you would normally introduce yourself to an attractive stranger: be charming, witty and flirtatious without explaining exactly what you’d like to stick where.  

If you’re talking to people on networking/dating sites rather than a “sex search”/adult personals site, plan on exchanging a minimum of two e-mails before getting explicit about your desires. It’s the tech-age version of the three-date rule. Let the other party decide whether or not they want to get to know you before they have to think about getting to know you biblically. You will get a better response rate, nicer Nos and more Yeses.

If you’re searching on an Adult FriendFinder-type site, or someone has made their desire for NSA sex explicit in their profile, you can be more forward, but make sure they’re looking for the same kind of sex you are. Under no circumstances should you approach someone who has explicitly requested something you are not. He’s not going to respond if he has a redhead kink and you’re blonde.  A dominatrix is not going to thrill at an e-mail from a novice submissive if she wants someone “well-trained.”  And no, that girl who admits to dating men but states in no uncertain terms that she is looking for “only women at this time, NO MEN only women please” will not make an exception for you and your lesbian fantasy. (You, sir, are a jackass, and you are ruining the bi girls for the rest of us.)

Be Honest

Don’t pretend to be looking for Mr. Right if you’re seeking Mr. RightNow. Make it clear in your own profile that you’re looking for something light and casual. You don’t have to mention sex explicitly if you feel like it’ll scare off prospects who might otherwise be interested, but do come clean about your intentions somewhere in the first five to seven e-mails. If you wait any longer, you run the risk of letting them think you want to be their boyfriend when you really just want to be their bedmate.

Broaching the subject of NSA sex can be tricky, but there are lots of ways to do it. It’s always fair to say that you’re just not looking for a committed thing right now. It’s true, direct, and unambiguous. If you have a specific reason for wanting just sex, explain it. (A guy who just tells you he wants sex might seem like a pig, but a guy who’s recently broken up with someone/is moving in a few months/is too busy for a relationship but found you too smoking hot to pass up is somehow more human and less obnoxious.) If you’ve made your intentions clear, but you suspect they still see you as relationship material, you are obligated to make yourself clear again (and again, until the other party “gets it.”) You can be flattering (make sure they know why you contacted them and why you’re attracted to them) but always be direct. Phrases like “friendship,” “casual relationships” and “friends with benefits” are excellent places to start.

Don’t ever misrepresent yourself or lie in the hopes of getting tail — it may seem harmless if you’re planning on it being a one-night thing, but if the sex turns out to be mind-blowing and your partner is willing to make it a weekly no-strings event, you’ll find yourself either saying no to quality nookie or tangled in an increasingly complicated lie. If you have a serious partner (you’re in an open relationship, for instance), you need to inform your prospect, even if you only plan to see them once. If you have an STD, you have to tell them that, too. (Related: if you’re into no-strings sex, and you don’t practice safer sex Every Single Time, do the rest of humanity a favor and refrain from rubbing your fuzzy bits against anyone else’s ever again.)

Be Patient

If you’re looking for sex online, be prepared to be shot down over and over — even if you’re a hottie! Expect some virtual drinks thrown in your face. (Following my advice will minimize that, but you’re still likely to misread someone somewhere along the way, and they may end up angry or offended. ). As in the real world, sealing the deal can be both difficult and time-consuming, but perseverance and a little judgment go a long way. By seeking out appropriate matches who have the same desires you do and showing them that you’re an honest, respectful, decent human being, you’re putting yourself in the best possible position, because you’re acting like someone they might actually want to have sex with.

And that, my friends, is how you get laid online.

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  • JustJss said:

    So … that cool pop-up asking for my emmail address was *not* you asking me if I wanted to have sex, then? Because that might be slimy … though I think I’d be OK with it … ;)

  • Paula S said:

    Great and informative article. I especially like the part about not coming on to someone in the very first e-mail. You’re right, nobody likes a desperate person. It’s very alarming.

  • Jeffrey Kishner said:

    JustJss – nope, we’d like to get to know you a bit better first…

  • JustJss said:


    So is the pop-up a plugin? As pop-ups go, it’s not too bad.

    Overall, Meghan offers sound advice … though as with many things, execution is more important than the actual plan. ;)

    - t’other Jeff

  • Jeffrey Kishner said:

    JustJss, it’s a javascript from aWeber

  • Meghan (author) said:

    @JustJss – Thank you! I have been on the receiving end of waaayyyy too many misguided e-mails, and I thought a “how-to” would be handy. It seems like it would be common sense… and yet….

    @Paula S. – “Alarming” is the right word. Nothing worse than opening your inbox and shuddering at what you find there.

  • LoveHoney - Carly said:

    This should be mandatory reading for everyone on dating sites!

    The bi-sexual women thing is true too! I’ve heard of so many women being approached by men who think they can “turn” a girl who is just into ladies. You can’t, so stop trying!

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